Is Climate Change the new Gay Marriage?
This may seem odd, but the shifts in public opinion and the growing change in GOP official responses to questions about climate change sure looks a lot like gay marriage a few years back. For instance, a NY Times article discusses why many GOP candidates respond to questions about climate change with “I’m not a scientist.” (Well, yeah, we’ve noticed, guys; nor are most of you female or OB-GYNs but that hasn’t stopped some strange speech about abortion). In the past the answers were more along the lines of “the science is still in doubt” or even “I don’t think there is climate change, it is a hoax perpetrated by scientists trying to get more money.” Why the shift? They are probably seeing polls like one reported in the Times, where 71% of Americans think they are seeing signs of climate change and 55% say we should do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions–this in a nation whose Protestants still believe in ghosts more than evolution. They are probably also noticing that some of their major corporate donors are acknowledging the science and planning on there being a carbon tax or something equivalent. Just as with gay marriage, this feels like a case of the public leading the politicians. If the economy becomes a non-issue in 2016 it could well be that being a climate change denier/doubter/agnostic might be a big political liability. So, for now, the GOP is hiding. The sooner they come out of hiding and decide to try to do something about this, the better. And hey, if they want to polish their climate-change credentials if they control Congress in the next 2 years, so much the better.